Reducing Deforestation and its Impact on Air and Water Quality in North-Central Colorado

Ending deforestation is our best chance to conserve wildlife and defend the rights of forest communities. It is one of the fastest and most effective ways to reduce the negative impacts of climate change. While deforestation is a direct threat to human and environmental health, there are ways to change trends, including improving eating and shopping habits, encouraging government action, and granting more rights to indigenous peoples. Healthy forests are critical for providing clean water.

They can have a positive impact on the quantity, quality, and filtration costs associated with a city's water supply, and sometimes they even reduce the need for expensive concrete and steel infrastructure. Until now, climate policy has focused only on carbon stocks and sequestration to assess the potential of forests to mitigate global warming. These factors are used to assess the impacts of the different drivers of deforestation and forest degradation, as well as alternative forest management. However, when forest cover, structure, and composition change, changes in biophysical processes (water and energy balances) can increase or decrease the climatic effects of the carbon released by forest biomass on the ground. The net climate impact of carbon effects and biophysical effects determines outcomes for forest and agricultural species, as well as for the human beings that depend on them. The evaluation of the net impact is complicated by the disparate space-time scales at which they operate.

Here we review the biophysical mechanisms by which forests influence climate and synthesize recent work on the biophysical climate forcing of forests at all latitudes. Then, we combined published data on the biophysical effects of deforestation on climate by latitude with a new analysis of the climate impact of CO2 on aerial forest biomass by latitude to quantitatively assess how these processes combine to shape local and global climate. We found that tropical deforestation leads to strong net global warming as a result of both CO2 and biophysical effects. From the tropics to a point between 30° N and 40° N, the biophysical cooling caused by standing forests is both local and global, adding to the global cooling effect of CO2 sequestered by forests. At mid-latitudes of up to 50° N, deforestation leads to modest net global warming, as the warming caused by the carbon released from the forests exceeds a small opposite biophysical cooling.

Beyond 50° N, large-scale deforestation leads to net global cooling due to the predominance of biophysical processes (particularly the increase in albedo) over the warming caused by the release of CO2.Locally, at all latitudes, the biophysical impacts of forests far exceed those of CO2, promoting local climate stability by reducing extreme temperatures in all seasons and hours of the day. Current carbon-focused metrics do not adequately capture the importance of forests both for mitigating global climate change and for local adaptation of human and non-human species, particularly in light of future climate warming. From helping clean water to providing food and shelter, alleviating our stress and promoting jobs, trees offer numerous benefits for people and their environment. In addition to releasing clean oxygen so we can breathe, trees play a critical role in improving air quality by removing air pollutants and greenhouse gases from our atmosphere. In just the contiguous United States alone, urban trees remove approximately 71,000 metric tons of air pollution each year. In broader literature, this latitude of zero net biophysical effect on local temperature is generally between 30° N and 40° N (figure).

Areas with shallow aquifers can be planted to reduce water pollution or they can be avoided to maintain water performance. It is appropriate that International Day of Forests (March 2) and World Water Day (March 2) are side by side since these important resources often go hand in hand. Companies can have an impact by introducing and implementing “zero deforestation” policies that clean up their supply chains. Global Forest Watch Water (GFW Water) is a free global database and interactive mapping tool designed to help identify deforestation risks in watersheds and opportunities for natural infrastructure solutions. They also expressed concern that health effects associated with this year's fires could seriously aggravate effects of COVID-19 pandemic and potentially collapse health system in parts of Amazon.

Today palm oil found in wide range processed foods and beauty products is one main drivers deforestation in Southeast Asia. The leaves of trees absorb carbon dioxide and water from air use solar energy convert it into chemical compounds including sugars you can consume as food. They also improve groundwater recharge meaning they increase amount water stored underground in water tables. The layers forest canopy branches roots can store release water vapor which controls rainfall. Tree density can be manipulated at time planting or during early stages development accelerate structural maturity manage water performance. The persistence ozone methane both greenhouse gases produces biogeochemical warming effect.

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